Friday, November 21, 2014

Blog Tour (Review, Interview, & Giveaway): The Tree of Water by Elizabeth Haydon

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Title: The Tree of Water (The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme #4)
Author:
Elizabeth Haydon
Publisher: Starscape (Macmillan)
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Acquired Via: PR by the Book

The epic voyages continue in The Tree of Water, the fourth adventure in bestselling author Elizabeth Haydon’s acclaimed fantasy series for young readers, The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme.

As Royal Reporter of the land of Serendair, it is the duty of young Charles Magnus "Ven" Polypheme to travel the world and seek out magic hiding in plain sight. But Ven needs to escape the clutches of the nefarious Thief Queen, ruler of the Gated City, whose minions are hunting for him. His friend, the merrow Amariel, has the perfect solution to his dilemma: Ven and Char will join her to explore the world beneath the sea.

As they journey through the sea, Ven finds himself surrounded by wonders greater than he could have ever imagined. But the beauty of the ocean is more than matched by the dangers lurking within its depths, and Ven and his friends soon realize that in order to save thousands of innocent lives, they may have to sacrifice their own. For everything in the ocean needs to eat...


My Review

First off, I'm going kick myself for not doing my homework. When The Tree of Water was offered to me to review, my brain shut down, and I immediately responded, "YES! YES! YES!!!!!" (or something like that). If I would have been thinking clearly, I would have checked out the book on the publisher's page or Goodreads and seen that it was the fourth book in a series. *sigh*

And yes, it is necessary to read the others to really know what is going on. That being said, I may not have gotten the full experience from The Tree of Water that I would have gotten if I had read the other books in The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, but I was still able to enjoy the book. Haydon's writing is witty, the characters are charming, and she created this fantasy world that is just as magical as anything from Tolkien, Carroll, or Lewis. I can definitely see The Tree of Water being a huge hit with middle grade readers. It was very exciting.

The Tree of Water is a wonderful book, but I highly recommend that you begin reading the series with The Floating Island. I intend to read it over the holidays instead of my annual trip back to the pages of Harry Potter or Narnia.

- 4/5 Stars -

Excerpt

THE TREE OF WATER
Elizabeth Haydon
Starscape, 2014


1
To Go, or Not to Go

The human boys had an expression back in the faraway city of Vaarn where I was born. It went like this:

Curiosity killed the cat

Satisfaction brought him back

I am a curious person. I was just as curious back in my early days in Vaarn as I am now, perhaps even more so, because my curiosity had not yet been given a chance to be satisfied.

The first time I heard this expression, I was very excited. I thought it meant that my curiosity could make me feel like I was dying, but it would let up if I discovered the answer to whatever was making me curious.

I told my mother about the rhyme. She was not impressed. In fact, she looked at me as if I had just set my own hair on fire on purpose. She patted my chin, which was woefully free of any sign of the beard that should have been growing there.

“That’s very nice,” she said, returning to her chores. “But just in case nobody told you, you are not a cat, Ven. Unlike you, cats have whiskers.”

My pride stung for days afterward.

But it didn’t stop my curiosity from growing as fast as my beard should have been.

My name is Charles Magnus Ven Polypheme, Ven for short. Unlike the human boys in Vaarn, I am of the race of the Nain. Nain are somewhat shorter than humans, and grumpier. They live almost four times as long as humans, and tend to be much less curious, and much less adventurous. They hate to travel, don’t swim, and generally do not like other people. Especially those who are not Nain.

I clearly am not a good example of my race.

First, I am very tall for a Nain, sixty-eight Knuckles high when I was last measured on the morning of my fiftieth birthday. I’ve already mentioned my uncontrollable curiosity, which brings along with it a desire for adventure. I have been blessed, or cursed, with quite a lot of that recently.

But as for the curiosity, while I’ve had a lot of satisfaction for the questions it has asked me, it doesn’t seem to matter. As soon as one burning question is answered, another one springs to mind immediately. As a result, I am frequently in trouble.

So now I am about to lay my head on a chopping block, on purpose, and a man with a very sharp knife is standing over me, ready to make slashes in my neck.

I’m wondering if in fact instead of being a live Nain, I am about to end up as a dead, formerly curious cat.

Because now I have three whiskers of my own.


Ven Polypheme had two sets of eyes staring at him.

One set was black as coal. The other was green as the sea.

Neither of them looked happy.

The green eyes were floating, along with a nose, forehead, and hair on which a red cap embroidered with pearls sat, just above the surface of the water beneath the old abandoned dock. The brows above the eyes were drawn together. They looked annoyed.

The black ones were in the middle of the face of his best friend, Char, who stood beside him on the dock. They looked anxious.

In the distance a bell began to toll. Ven looked to his left at the docks of the fishing village to the south of them, where work had begun hours ago. Then he looked behind him. The sleepy town of Kingston in the distance was just beginning to wake up.

Ven looked back down into the water.

“Come on, Amariel,” he said to the floating eyes. “I can’t really go off into the sea without him.”

A glorious tail of colorful scales emerged from below the surface, splashing both boys with cold salt water.

“Why not?” a girl’s voice demanded from the waves. “He’s a pest. And he isn’t nice to me.”

Char’s black eyes widened.

“I—I’m sorry ’bout that,” he stammered. “When I first met you, Ven didn’t tell me you were a mermaid—” He shivered as another splash drenched him again. “Er, I mean merrow. I’m sorry if I made you mad.”

“Hmmph.”

“Please let him come,” Ven said. “Captain Snodgrass gave him orders to keep an eye on me. So if I’m going to explore the sea with you, he kinda has to come along.”

Char nodded. “Cap’n’s orders.”

“He’s not my captain,” said the merrow. “I don’t take orders from humans. You know better, Ven. My mother will fillet me if she finds out I’m traveling with a human male. Especially if we are going to go exploring. There are very clear rules about not showing humans around the wonders of the Deep. And besides, it’s dangerous. You have no idea how many sea creatures think humans are tasty. I don’t want to get chomped on by mistake.”

Out of the corner of his eye, Ven watched Char’s face go white.

“We’ll be careful,” he promised. “Char will be on his best behavior.”

“I’ve seen his best behavior. I’m not impressed.”

“Look,” Char said. “If you get sick of me, you can always cover me with fish guts and toss me out as shark bait.”

The merrow stared coldly at him.

“Oh, all right,” she said finally. “But remember, there’s a reason they call bait for sharks chum. ‘Chum’ is another word for ‘friend.’” Her eyes stayed locked on Char. “And if you make a bunch of sharks angry, Chum—”

“I’ll be chum,” Char said. “Got it.”

“So if you’re coming, we have to find a fisherman named Asa with a red-bottomed boat.” Amariel pointed south to one of the far docks.

“He’ll cut your gills, and we can get going.”

Both boys grabbed their necks.

The merrow rolled her eyes. “Oh, come on. Do you want to be able to breathe underwater or not? Gills are the only way I know of to do that. I’m tired of waiting. Decide whether you’re coming or whether I’m leaving.”

“We’re coming,” Ven said as he let go of his neck. “Sorry—it’s just instinct. Let’s go.”

Char nodded, but did not remove his hands.

The merrow disappeared below the surface of the water.

The two boys hurried south over the packed sand along the shore.

“Ya know, it’s not too late to change your mind, Ven,” Char muttered. “We could get a boat or somethin’, and follow her out to sea, like we did when we were chasing the Floatin’ Island, and then dive down to see whatever she wants to show us—”

“You can stay on shore if you want to, Char,” Ven said, trying to see the merrow in between the waves. “But I promised her a long time ago that I would explore her world with her. It’s now or never.”

“Have it your way,” Char said gloomily. “You always do anyway.”

They followed the pebbly path in the sand south until the fishing village came into sight. Several long piers led out into the harbor, with docks along each of them. Small boats lined the docks. At each boat fishermen were hauling nets filled with flapping fish and cages with crabs and lobsters onto the piers. Seagulls flew in great wide circles above, screeching and crying, then diving for food.

“So how did she happen to find this Asa, and how does she know he won’t just cut our throats?” Char asked as they picked their way among barrels and pieces of rope on the slats of the pier.

Ven shrugged. “No idea. But sailors and merrows have a pretty good connection.” He pointed about halfway down the pier, where a small green fishing boat with a red bottom bobbed lazily in the morning tide. A wrinkled man in a wrinkled hat sat on a barrel at the edge of the dock, cleaning his morning catch of fish. “Could that be him?”

Char squinted. “I guess so.”

“Come on. We may as well ask. If it’s not Asa, he probably knows where to find him. Fishermen all know each other.”

The two boys walked along the pier, stepping out of the way of men dragging lobster traps and heavy netting, until they got to the red-bottomed boat. They stopped behind the elderly fisherman, who did not seem to notice they were there.

Ven coughed politely.

“Excuse me, sir—are you Asa?”

The fisherman looked up from his work, his sky-blue eyes twinkling in the sun.

“Who’s askin’?”

“Er, my name is Ven, sir. I was told I might find a fisherman at this dock who could, uh, cut gills.”

The wrinkly man nodded. “Well, Ven, you’ve found ’im. But I can’t say as I’ve heard of any recent wrecks.”

Ven blinked. “Pardon?”

“Shipwrecks,” said the fisherman. “That’s the only reason I know of for a man to risk a slice in his neck—to salvage the treasure from the bones of a shipwreck.”

“Oh.” Ven and Char exchanged a glance, then looked off the edge of the dock.

In the water behind the boat, the beautiful tail of multicolored scales was waving at them from beneath the surface.

“Uh, we weren’t really planning to dive for treasure,” Ven continued, trying to block the sight of the merrow’s tail. “We just want to do some exploring.”

The fisherman’s eyebrows arched.

“The sea’s no place to explore without a good reason, lads,” he said seriously. “Lots of bad stuff down there—believe you me. The only reason a man takes his life into his hands on a daily basis by going out there is to make a living for his family. Otherwise, we’d farm the land.” The blue eyes twinkled. “If we knew how.”

“Well, we’d really like to have gills, nonetheless,” Ven said. “We’ve been told you know how to, er, cut them without too much pain—and safely. Is that true?”

Asa exhaled, then nodded.

“I suppose that depends on how much is too much where pain is concerned,” he said. “That’s really up to you. It’s not my business what you’re doing. We mind our own business on the sea. If you want gills, and you’re willing to take the risk, I can cut ’em for you right quick.” He held up a thin silver filleting knife. “Then I have to get back to cleaning my catch. So, what’ll it be? Make haste, now.”

Char and Ven looked at each other once more, then nodded at the same time.

“We’re in,” said Char.

“All right then,” said Asa. He reached into the boat and took hold of the top of a small sea chest that held his tackle. He slammed it closed and put it on the dock in front of them. “Kneel down and put your heads on this chest, your left ears down.”

The boys obeyed.

“Well, ’s been good to know you,” Char whispered as they positioned their heads on the chest.

“Shhh,” Ven whispered back. “We’re not being executed, for pity’s sake.”

“You hope we’re not. You never know.”

Asa wiped the filleting knife on his trousers, then came and stood over Ven.

“Hold very still, now.”

Char winced and put his hand over his eyes.

Ven started to close his eyes as well.

Suddenly, from the end of the dock near town, a bright flash of rainbow-colored light blinded him.

And the world seemed to stop around him.

Copyright © 2014 by Elizabeth Haydon
Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Brandon Dorman


Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Fishpond



About the Author

Little is known for sure about reclusive documentarian and archanologist Elizabeth Haydon.

She is an expert in dead languages and holds advanced degrees in Nain Studies from Arcana College and Lirin History from the University of Rigamarole. Her fluency in those languages [Nain and Lirin] has led some to speculate that she may be descended of one of those races herself. It should be noted that no one knows this for sure.

Being an archanologist, she is also an expert in ancient magic because, well, that’s what an archanologist is.

Being a documentarian means she works with old maps, books and manuscripts, and so it is believed that her house is very dusty and smells like ink, but there is no actual proof of this suspicion. On the rare occasions of sightings of Ms. Haydon, it has been reported that she herself has smelled like lemonade, soap, vinegar, freshly-washed babies and pine cones.

She is currently translating and compiling the fifth of the recently-discovered Lost Journals when she is not napping, or attempting to break the world’s record for the longest braid of dental floss.

We had the chance to ask her some questions about the latest of Ven’s journals, The Tree of Water. Here is what she shared.


1. Dr. Haydon, can you give us a brief summary of The Tree of Water?

Certainly. Ven Polypheme, who wrote the, er, Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme, lived long ago in the Second Age of history, when magic was much more alive and visible in the world than it is now. His journals are very important finds, because they tell the story of ancient magic and where it still may be found in the world today.

In the first three journals we saw how Ven came to the mystical island of Serendair and was given the job of Royal Reporter by the king of the island, a young man named Vandemere. The Royal Reporter was supposed to find magic that was hiding in plain sight in the world and report back about it to the king. As you can imagine, this could be a fun but dangerous job, and at the beginning of The Tree of Water, we see that Ven and his friends are hiding from the evil Thief Queen, who is looking to find and kill him.

Amariel, a merrow [humans call these ‘mermaids,’ but we know that’s the wrong word] who saved Ven when the first ship he sailed on sank, has been asking Ven to come and explore the wonders of the Deep, her world in the sea. Deciding that this could be a great way to find hidden magic as well as hide from the evil Thief Queen, Ven and his best friend, Char, follow her into the Deep. The sea, as you know, is one of the most magical places in the world—but sometimes that magic, and that place, can be deadly.

The book tells of mysterious places, and interesting creatures, and wondrous things that have never been seen in the dry world, and tales from the very bottom of the sea.

2. The main character in The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme series is Charles Magnus "Ven" Polypheme. Tell us about him.

Ven was an interesting person, but he really didn’t think so. He and his family were of a different race than the humans who made up most of the population where he lived, the race of the Nain. Nain are an old race, a little shorter and stockier than most humans, with a tendency to be on the grumpy side. They live about four times as long as humans, are very proud of their beards, which they believe tell their life stories, don’t like to swim or travel, and prefer to live deep in the mountains.

Ven was nothing like the majority of Nain. He was very curious, loved to travel, could swim, and longed to see the world. He was actually a pretty nice kid most of the time. He had the equivalent of a baby face because only three whiskers of his beard had grown in by the time The Tree of Water took place, when he was fifty years old [around twelve in Nain years]. He had a great group of friends, including the merrow and Char, who were mentioned earlier. It is believed that his journals were the original research documents for two of the most important books of all time, The Book of All Human Knowledge and All the World’s Magic. The only copies of these two volumes were lost at sea centuries ago, so finding the Lost Journals is the only way to recover this important information.

3. What kind of research do you do for the series?

I go to places where Ven went and try to find relics he left behind. Usually this is with an expedition of archaeologists and historians. I am an expert in ancient magic [an archanologist] so I don’t usually lead the expeditions, I’m just a consultant. It gives me the chance to learn a lot about magic and lets me work on my suntan at the same time, so it’s good.

4. What is/are the most difficult part or parts of writing/restoring the Lost Journals?

Here’s the list, mostly from the archaeological digs where the journals have been found:

1] Cannibals
2] Crocodiles
3] Sunburn
4] Sand flies
5] Dry, easily cracking parchment pages
6] The horrible smell of long-dead seaweed
7] Grumpy members of the archaeological expedition [I could name names, but I won’t]
8] Expedition food [when finding and retrieving the journal for The Tree of Water, we ate nothing but peanut butter and raisin sandwiches, olives and yellow tea for six months straight]
9] When salt water gets into your favorite fountain pen and clogs it up. This is very sad.
10] Unintentionally misspelling a word in the Nain language that turns out to be embarrassing [the word for “jelly” is one letter different from the word for “diarrhea,” which caused a number of my Nain friends to ask me what on earth I thought Ven was spreading on his toast.]

5. What do you enjoy about this series that cannot be found in any of your other books?

Getting to write about a lot of cool magic stuff that used to exist in our world, but doesn’t anymore. And getting to travel to interesting places in the world to see if maybe some of it still does exist. Also getting to show the difference between merrows, which are real, interesting creatures, and mermaids, which are just silly.

6. What do you hope readers take away from this book?

I hope, in general, that it will open their eyes to the wonder of the sea, which takes up the majority of our planet, but we really don’t know that much about it down deep. There is a great deal of magic in the sea, and I hope that if and when people become aware of it, they will help take care of it and not throw garbage and other bad stuff into it. I have a serious dislike for garbage-throwing.

Probably the most useful secret I learned that I hope will be of use to readers is about thrum. Thrum is the way the creatures and plants that live in the ocean communicate with each other through vibration and thought. As Ven and his friends learn, this can be a problem if you think about something you don’t want anyone to know about when you are standing in a sunshadow, because everyone gets to see a picture of what’s on your mind. Imagine how embarrassing that could be.

7. Are there more books coming in this series?

Well, at least one. In the archaeological dig site where The Tree of Water was found was another journal, a notebook that Ven called The Star of the Sea. We are still working on restoring it, but it looks like there are many new adventures and different kinds of magic in it. The problem is that it might have been buried in the sand with an ancient bottle of magical sun tan lotion, which seems to have leaked onto some of the journal’s pages. This is a very sad event in archaeology, but we are working hard to restore it.

As for other books, it’s not like we just write them out of nowhere. If we haven’t found one of Ven’s journals, there can’t be another book, now, can there? We are always looking, however. We’ve learned so much about ancient magic from the journals we have found so far.

8. You are a best-selling author with other books and series for adults. What made you want to write books for young readers?

I like young readers better than adults. Everyone who is reading a book like mine has at one time or another been a young reader, but not everyone has been an adult yet. Young readers have more imagination and their brains are more flexible—they can understand magical concepts a lot better than a lot of adults, who have to deal with car payments and work and budget balancing and all sorts of non-magical things in the course of their days.

Besides, many adults scare me. But that’s not their fault. I’m just weird like that.

I think if more adults read like young readers, the world would be a happier place.

9. Tell us where we can find your book and more information about where you are these days.

You can find The Tree of Water anywhere books are sold, online and in bookstores. There are several copies in my steamer trunk and I believe the palace in Serendair also has one. I also sent one to Bruno Mars because I like his name.

At the moment, I am on the beautiful island of J’ha-ha, searching for a very unique and magical flower. Thank you for asking these interview questions—it has improved my mood, since I have only found weeds so far today. I am hoping for better luck after lunch, which, sadly, is peanut butter and raisin sandwiches, olives, and yellow tea again.

All the best,
Dr. Elizabeth Haydon, PhD, D’Arc

Giveaway

I have a copy of The Tree of Water up for grabs today. To enter to win, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

US & Canada ONLY
Ends at 12:01am EST on December 1st

a Rafflecopter giveaway
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel through PR by the Book in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.

Book News and Deals: November 21, 2014

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On November 19, 2014, Barnes & Noble announced its New Nook Audiobook App for Android. The new app is available in the Google Play store or on your Nook.

Barnes & Noble is also offering two free audiobooks from a selection of five books for first-time downloaders. The offer is available from November 18, 2014 to January 31, 2015, and the selection of books will change each week until January 31, 2015. The current selections are Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg and Seabiscuit by Lauren Hillenbrand.

Don't forget that Barnes & Noble also offers a free book, app and video each Friday. Today's book selection is Code of Honor (Intrepid Heroines Series, Book 1) by Andrea Pickens.




Title: The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
Author:
Maggie Stiefvater
Price: $2.99

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the
Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

This book has an average of 4.02 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I rated this 4 out of 5 stars. I adore Maggie Stiefvater, and I really enjoy this series. You can read Kayla's review here.

Please remember to check prices before buying. These prices are subject to change without notice.

Buy Links
Amazon | Google Play




Title: Losing It (Losing It #1)
Author:
Cora Carmack
Price: $1.99

Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, Bliss Edwards decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible - a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren't embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She'd left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.

This book has an average of 3.82 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I rated this 3 out of 5 stars. This is a really cute New Adult novel, and Cora Carmack is one of the handful of New Adult writers that I actually enjoy.

Please remember to check prices before buying. These prices are subject to change without notice.

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble




Title: Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows #1)
Author:
Kim Harrison
Price: $3.99

All the creatures of the night gather in "the Hollows" of Cincinnati, to hide, to prowl, to party ... and to feed. Vampires rule the darkness in a predator-eat-predator world rife with dangers beyond imagining -- and it's Rachel Morgan's job to keep that world civilized.

A bounty hunter and witch with serious sex appeal and an attitude, she'll bring 'em back alive, dead ... or undead.


This book has an average of 4.03 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I rated this 4 out of 5 stars.

Please remember to check prices before buying. These prices are subject to change without notice.

Buy Link
Amazon




Title: Night (The Night Trilogy #1)
Author:
Elie Wiesel
Price: $2.95

Night is a work by Elie Wiesel about his experience with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944–1945, at the height of the Holocaust and toward the end of the Second World War. In just over 100 pages of sparse and fragmented narrative, Wiesel writes about the death of God and his own increasing disgust with humanity, reflected in the inversion of the father–child relationship as his father declines to a helpless state and Wiesel becomes his resentful teenage caregiver.

Penetrating and powerful, as personal as The Diary Of Anne Frank, Night awakens the shocking memory of evil at its absolute and carries with it the unforgettable message that this horror must never be allowed to happen again.


Night is today's Audible Daily Deal, and the price will only be good until midnight tonight. This book has an average of 4.26 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. You can read Kayla's and my joint review here.

Please remember to check prices before buying. These prices are subject to change without notice.

Buy Link
Audible


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blog Tour (Review & Giveaway): The Heart Does Not Grow Back by Fred Venturini

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Title: The Heart Does Not Grow Back
Author:
Fred Venturini
Publisher: Picador (Macmillan)
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Acquired Via: TLC Book Tours

EVERY SUPERHERO NEEDS TO START SOMEWHERE...

Dale Sampson is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.

When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? The Heart Does Not Grow Back is a darkly comic, starkly original take on the superhero tale, introducing an exceptional new literary voice in Fred Venturini.


My Review

I don't read too many "superhero" books, but I have always liked the idea of those that are not really traditional. The Heart Does Not Grow Back sounded like Spider-man, but more realistic, so I jumped at the chance to read it.

I jumped way too quickly.

Book Deals: November 20, 2014

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Title: Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)
Author:
Robin LaFevers
Price: $1.99

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

This book has an average of 3.95 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I rated this 5 out of 5 stars. You can read Kayla's review here.

Please remember to check prices before buying. These prices are subject to change without notice.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Deals: November 19, 2014

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Title: Gates of Thread and Stone (Gates of Thread and Stone #1)
Author:
Lori M. Lee
Price: $1.99

In the Labyrinth, we had a saying: keep silent, keep still, keep safe.

In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank, and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together, and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her.

Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.


This is a Kindle daily deal, so the reduced price is only good for today, November 19, 2014. This book has an average of 3.72 stars out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I haven't read it yet, but I did buy it when it was released. This doesn't seem to be available as an e-book on any of other major e-book retailers, but it is part of Amazon's Kindle Unlimited program.

Please remember to check prices before buying. These prices are subject to change without notice.

Waiting on Wednesday (81): The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

THERE ARE SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE KISS OF DECEPTION!



Title: The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2)
Author:
Mary E. Pearson
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (Macmillan)
Release Date: July 7, 2015

Intrigue abounds in this hotly anticipated sequel to The Kiss of Deception!

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.



Look at that gorgeous cover! It is soooo much better than The Kiss of Deception. Kayla and I both loved The Kiss of Deception, so we're both excited about the sequel and its awesome cover. You can read Kayla's review here and mine here.

What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book Deals: November 18, 2014

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Title: The Duchess War (Brothers Sinister #1)
Author:
Courtney Milan
Price: Free

Sometimes love is an accident.

This time, it’s a strategy.


Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly--so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don't get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention.

But that is precisely what she gets.

Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he's up to, he realizes there is more to than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he's determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match...


This book has an average of 3.89 stars out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I gave it 4 stars. Courtney Milan is one of my favorite Historical Romance authors, and this is the series that started my love affair.

Please remember to check prices before buying. These prices are subject to change without notice.

Buy Links
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Top Ten Tuesday: Sequels I Cannot Wait To Read

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Sequels That I Cannot Wait to Read



1. The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
July 7, 2015

The Kiss of Deception has been one of my favorite books this year, so far. You can read Kayla's review here and mine here. And the sequel's cover is sooooo much better.



2. The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) by Samantha Shannon
January 27, 2015

Birthday book! I love that my birthday is on a Tuesday this year because several good books will be out. I really enjoyed the dark and gritty world of The Bone Season and can't wait to see where the next one takes us. You can read Kayla's review here.